Valentine’s Day is swiftly approaching this weekend and love is in the air. In our personal lives, many of us are gearing up for a day of romances and surprises. At work however, there are boundaries that need to be adhered to, particularly during this week in which love abounds.

It is a simple reality that people spend much of their time at work and end up sharing their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and intimacies with co-workers, so it is inevitable that many friendships blossom into romantic relationships. How do you keep this from becoming disruptive and problematic?

The key for any organization is to manage these relationships rather than banning them all together. Has your organization established written guidelines that can create a fair and professional environment? Such guidelines should include standards of conduct expected of all employees, mention of fraternization, and other applicable factors pertaining to romantic workplace relationships. Consider offering an open discussion on these guidelines to answer any questions that may arise and clarify what is and is not acceptable in the workplace.

There are a few simple rules that most companies adhere to: Avoid relationships that can create a conflict of interest (e.g. managers and their subordinates) as this tends to cause perceptions of favoritism and evoke concerns regarding breaches of confidentiality. Require that employees do not flaunt their affections at work. Such excessive display is unprofessional and causes discomfort amongst other employees. As it applies to many aspects of employment, treat your coworkers with respect and dignity.

HRCentral specializes in assisting organizations with mitigating potential conflict that may arise with challenging workplace situations, including those that may arise regarding workplace relationships. Contact us if you have any questions regarding creating policies that apply to romance in the workplace or if you have any concerns with any difficult situations.

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